Archive for sound effects

Review: Just Wait Till Your Ears Read This

Posted in Reviews, Spotlight with tags , , , , , , on 7 April 2013 by Megan
Subtitled: The Genius of Ben Burtt

Subtitled: The Genius of Ben Burtt

Let me lead with this: This is by far the best I have ever heard. For an auditory person like me, who has often dreamed of Foley work, it’s a dream come true, giving a truly unique and never boring glimpse behind the scenes of the process of Star Wars in a way most people have probably never imagined. Bonus points for a segment on the origins of the Wilhelm screen, and enough obscure Star Wars trivia to make you truly a delight at parties and informal get-togethers!

If I’m honest, though, there is just one tiny complaint preventing me from giving it five stars: the book does not explore the films equally at all. Acknowledging that it’s only logical to emphasize the Original Trilogy (where Burtt pioneered the effects and methods), and that I understand his not wanting necessarily to spill his secrets on his newer sounds — I’m pretty disappointed that the Prequels get less than half as much attention, and a ridiculous portion of the book is spent on The Clone Wars series (Burtt’s work on Droids and Ewoks and The Holiday Special are only briefly mentioned, so why waste my time on this exploration of a non-film entity?). While the Original films each receive a detailed treatment, step-by-step through each part of the film with excellent pictures and an average of 57 sounds each, the Prequels are reduced to their two or three big moments and quickly glossed over. Episode I has 33 sounds, fully 11 of which are Podrace only. E2 and E3 are given a pittance of a mere 18 and 14 sounds each . . . and one of those sounds isn’t even matched to the “creation story” attached to it (the book describes Burtt using a sonic boom for Vader’s heartbeat in the immolation sequence, but the sound linked to it is simply the Vader breathing/helmet squeal from ESB).

A great book, but it could have been better.

Sound Effects

Posted in Fun, Questions with tags , , , , , on 29 April 2011 by Megan

What are the top 5 most obscure and least obscure sounds in the SW Trilogy? — Eric

I decided to take this question for Fun Friday because I don’t have my book that talks about SW sound effects with me, so I’ll mainly be giving you my opinion. I suppose I do that anyway, but let’s talk sound effects today anyway!

In reply, I would give these two lists of the most obscure and least obscure SW sound effects. I am making an educated guess on these, pretty much using my experiences with people as a guideline. On the most fundamental level, I figure, “If my sister could identify this sound as being from Star Wars, it’s not obscure.” And then I ask myself, “If my roommate would hesitate before saying, ‘That’s a sound from Star Wars,’ then that’s pretty obscure.” So, voila! I give you my lists.

The Top 5 Most Obscure Star Wars Sounds According to the Star Wars Librarian

  1. The sound the lighted lap indicators make when the podracers finish a loop
  2. The sounds made by the mynock latching to the Falcon
  3. The “power-off” sound the tractor beam control center makes when Obi-Wan shuts it down
  4. The sound Luke’s lightsaber makes when he tries to pull it out of the snowbank using the Force
  5. The hum of ray shields

The Top 5 Least Obscure Star Wars Sounds According to the Star Wars Librarian

  1. Darth Vader breathing
  2. A lightsaber igniting
  3. A lightsaber being on
  4. A lightsaber shutting off
  5. R2-D2 squealing/chirping/beeping

If you consider that counting the three lightsaber sounds separately is cheating, I will give you two additional sounds: 4) TIE fighters, 5) Chewbacca speaking.

As a bonus, I will also give you my two favorite sounds in all of the Star Wars universe: 1) Seismic charges. *click* *silence* *SPANG* 2) The EMP fields generated by the electrostaves carried by Grevious’ MagnaGuards.

Finally, just to make Fun Friday really fun an interesting, here is a supercut from Cinexcellence featuring just about every Wilhelm scream in cinematic history. This is related because Ben Burtt (a recognized genius whom I will one day quote at great length about sound effects) is the one who brought it out of cinematic obscurity for SW. Warning . . . well, it’s 12 minutes long and your brain will probably turn to mush from hearing “ugh-ahhh!” so many times in a row. Also, because it features people screaming, it does feature violence. However, because it’s a Wilhelm scream, the violence can’t be taken too seriously. Anyway, you’ve been warned. Enjoy!